Free sanitary products are to be made available in a range of public buildings in Orkney from next month.
In August 2018, the Scottish Government made funding available to supply free of charge products in schools, colleges and universities and the scheme is now being extended. The products, being distributed by the Council and Orkney’s community planning partners, will shortly be available from a number of other facilities including community centres, libraries, the new hospital and from a range of voluntary sector organisations.
The products available will be regular sanitary pads, tampons and night-time sanitary pads.
The main aims of the scheme are to tackle what is known as 'period poverty' and protect people's dignity by making a range of products available in places that people use, ensuring anyone who menstruates can access sufficient amounts of these products, including transgender men/non-binary individuals.
‘Period poverty’ refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. A recent study by charity Plan International UK found that 1 in 10 girls aged 14 to 21 couldn't afford menstrual products. The survey, which took responses from 1000 girls in the UK, also found that 14% of girls have had to borrow menstrual products from a friend and 12% have had to improvise or do with makeshift menstrual products due to affordability issues.
Gail Anderson, Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Orkney, said “VAO is pleased to support this work by making sanitary products available from our offices in Anchor Buildings. We also will work with voluntary sector colleagues to ensure that products are available throughout Orkney, including the isles, so that people can access what they need at a location that is convenient for them.”
Hayley Green is the Council's Head of Buildings and Facilities. She said: "In its 2018 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government made a commitment to increase the number and range of places where sanitary products are available for those who need them.
"Sanitary products are not a luxury product, they are a necessity for a very large part of someone's life. We want to encourage people who need them to take the products - taking enough for their entire period, not just for that day. It doesn’t have to be for themselves either; they may be picking them up for someone else."